Edited by Cecelia Cutler, Zvjezdana Vrzić and Philipp Angermeyer
[Creole Language Library 53] 2017
► pp. 101–122
Creole as necessity? Creole as choice?
Evidence from Afrikaans historical sociolinguistics
John Singler (2006) encourages linguists to consider speaker agency in the genesis of pidgin/creole languages. I take my cue from his suggestion and consider the role of speaker agency in the history of Afrikaans, focusing on the Afrikaans negation (nie-2). I show that the social indexicality, and indeed iconicity, of nie-2 is the result of discursive nationalist-ideological work which associated this variant with the emphatic and decisive voice of the Afrikaner boer – an important symbolic figure at the time – and was thus able to disassociate it from the speech of people of colour (where it was the dominant variant). Based on this language-ideological work, nie-2 was adopted by young Afrikaner nationalists and diffused into the emerging (white) standard norm.